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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Warwick Man Detained on Charges of Possessing and Distributing Child Pornography

PROVIDENCE – A Warwick man who allegedly shared links of child pornography while participating in an online group chat was ordered detained in federal custody until a hearing on Friday following his arrest today by members of the FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force and an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence on child pornography charges.

It is alleged that Owen Batista, 26, posted links on a social media platform where members allegedly distribute videos and images of child pornography. It is alleged that Batista directed members of the platform to online digital storage folders that, a forensic review by FBI agents determined, contained 738 files. A forensic examination determined that seventeen of eighteen mp4 videos downloaded and viewed by FBI agents allegedly depicted the sexual abuse of children.

According to court documents, at the time of his arrest Batista allegedly told agents that he opened a social media account on the platform used for sharing child pornography by using a family member’s email address. A brief forensic review by task force agents of Batista’s iPad at the time of his arrest allegedly revealed a video depicting child pornography. Batista allegedly told agents that he thought the video contained “midget porn” and was unaware that the video depicted child pornography.

Batista appeared before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan and was ordered detained until a Friday hearing on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta.

A federal criminal complaint is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee H. Vilker.

The FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force is comprised of FBI agents and members of the Providence and Warwick Police Departments.

United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and FBI Boston Division Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta thank the FBI in Salt Lake City, Utah, for their assistance in this investigation.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
20-132
Updated October 21, 2020